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    CONTRACTS MANAGER HANDED TWO YEAR PRISON TERM

    Safety fall arrest netting would have saved life of deceased workman

    Manchester Crown Court has heard how, Kenneth Drake aged 54, died from sever head injuries when he fell through the fragile roof on which he was working in September 2015.

    The circumstances surrounding the death were investigated jointly by Greater Manchester Police and HSE. The investigators found “there had been fundamental breaches of duty on the part of those who organised the work to the roof”.

    Safety netting was required and practicable

    Practicable steps that could and should have been taken to ensure safety of those working on the site had not been taken thereby exposing the workforce to risks to which they should never have been exposed and which led directly to the death of Kenneth Drake.

    EXAMPLE OF SAFETY NETTING

    The practical steps required included providing netting to arrest any fall. Experts assessed the site after the fall and advised that such netting was necessary.

    A further expert stated that it was not difficult to provide and if it had been installed, would have caught Ken. Experts told investigators that netting would have costed approximately £1250 to safely install.

    Risk assessment record altered

    Mark Francis Bray (born 17/05/1971) was a contracts manager for one of the companies involved in the project. During the investigation the police examined his computer and found that he had altered the records “in order to mislead the investigation”.

    He presented a risk assessment document containing the forged signature of Mr Drake in order to mislead and attempt to justify his actions.

    • Mark Francis Bray – of Warrington was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to a matter of failing to take reasonable care of other persons, pursuant to section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, contrary to section 33(1)(a). He also pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.
    • Roofing Consultants Limited – was fined £100 000 and ordered to pay £30,000 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to Section 2(1) Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
    • High Ridge Roofing Solutions Limited – was fined £12,000 and were ordered to pay £33,000 in prosecution costs after being found guilty of Regulation 15(2) Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015 following a trial.

    Detective Chief Inspector Richard Eales, of GMP’s Major Incident Team, said:

    “Today’s result should serve as a stark reminder to those who employ people and have a responsibility to look after them in the workplace – cutting corners in this way is dangerous and can ultimately rip families apart, because it was these actions that had absolutely cataclysmic consequences and led to Ken’s unnecessary and preventable death.

    The fact that Bray went onto forge Ken’s signature demonstrates that rather than thinking about Ken and his loved ones in the aftermath of his death, Bray’s sole thought was to cover his tracks and prevent the investigation from establishing what had occurred.”

    HSE principal inspector, Laura Royales said:

    “This was an entirely foreseeable and preventable incident which resulted in a tragic and needless loss of life. Falls from height remain the biggest cause of workplace fatalities in the UK construction industry.

    It is vital that those involved in planning, managing and carrying out work at height understand the risks and identify and implement suitable control measures to prevent injury. Had such steps been taken in this case, this incident would not have occurred.”

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